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What Is A Classic?

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Last week we unveiled to the world our next book choice for the Huffington Post Book Club. Our readers rallied and voted on four choices we eagerly pitched, hoping ours would be discussed this summer. Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, won by a small margin over Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad.

However, there was some debate around the short list.

We had deliberately steered clear of the usual New York Times best sellers for lesser known works by infamous authors; in other words, classics.

"But these aren't classics," some shouted with raised fists (at least, that's how I imagined it). Hemingway and Twain not classics? Merriam-Webster backs up an initial definition of "a work of ancient Greece or Rome" with "a work of enduring excellence; also: its author." Hemingway might not have been my initial pick for this month's reading, but I certain wouldn't deny him that aforementioned description. But I digress.

So, tell us: What constitutes a literary classic? Is this month's read, The Sun Also Rises, a classic? If not, what genre would you place our choices under?